November 26, 2013 | Leave a comment
MOOCs are everywhere. Newspapers, radio shows, social networks, blogs and even TV news are all talking about them. They say it’s a technological revolution, an innovation, a new educational method. Everyone is raving about them, but how do they improve our way of teaching? They show the bright visible top of the iceberg, but are there parts that they are hiding from us?
By the way, MOOC means “Massive Open Online Course”. The idea is actually very simple: teachers create lessons that take place at a specific time just like a standard learning course, except the lesson occurs online and not in a classroom. Once the first lesson is aired, learners can go back if they wish to review it. Students sign up for a MOOC in the same way they register for a university class and take online training courses every week during the semester. A MOOC can gather a lot more learners for a lesson online than in a lecture hall. While taking these courses, students use videos, forums, MCQs, Internet resources, and social networks. Tools that most of us use every day. All in all, nothing very innovative!
There are many activities included in this training method; however, it doesn’t seem any different from blended learning used by companies or training centers. Here, it is adapted to higher learning, which is getting up to speed in offering online distance training. In 1950, Australians were already offering distance training courses with “School of the Air”, lessons by radio for kids living more than 1,000km away from school. As for companies, it has been offering online training for employees for over 20 years. A company can create and post its own MOOCs online. E-learning software publishers have been providing this type of service to companies for a long time via LCMS software for creating content and LMS platforms for publishing training courses.
Is MOOC a new type of media in order to hide that fact that our universities are behind in online training?
Universities have been controlling and managing their own digital workplaces for over many years; however, these intranets focus on training methods and not learning content. Universities and prestige colleges have some catching up to do when it comes to e-learning. Creating a training platform will guarantee quality lessons and learning methods by monitoring and formalizing training information. This is a great advantage; however, don’t forget that you must pay for every diploma or certification given by a MOOC.
The concept of a MOOC is very large and focuses on spreading the most knowledge to the public as possible by imposing the final objective: the diploma! So what are the goals set by MOOCs? Spreading knowledge or imposing approving the largest number of diplomas?
Time is up for thinking about MOOCs, SPOCs (Small Private Online Classes) are already here!
October 17, 2013 | Leave a comment
What is more unpleasant and tedious for an online training designer than spending time going after multimedia content that already exists? Where is it? How to find it in order to use it again in an e-learning module? Certain tools for creating and managing training (called LCMS) are adapted to meet this request and help training services save precious time. Decrypting what we call the “reuse”.
What exactly is the “reuse” of activities and media?
This term is a part of uninterrupted training vocabulary that signifies the recovering and reuse of distance training module elements: educational activities (quizzes, fill in the blank, multiple choice, etc.) and media (illustrations, videos, sounds, etc.).
Therefore, pedagogical designers can quickly and easily create new modules using already existing material.
This is one more step to prevent educational resources from escaping and optimize “educational capital” (please download the whitepaper for more information)
Find multimedia contents in an LCMS
A few LCMS have integrated this useful feature, which quickly became essential for users. How do you implement it? Elements (activities and media) are tagged with typical key words during their creation in the LCMS. This metadata provides a useful detailed description, especially for the search engine included in the LCMS that enables users to make requests by using keywords. Therefore, it identifies the multimedia contents that correspond to what the person is precisely looking for.
What are the major benefits for training services?
The reuse features are very attractive to distant training designers by allowing them to quickly carry out production tasks. Time is no longer lost in recreating already existing elements. Finally, reuse is a type of “recycling” mode that is extremely beneficial for HR services since the time saved has a direct impact on productivity.
October 17, 2013 | Leave a comment
The use of Web 2.0 in companies generated a new type of distant datacenter: cloud computing. Everyone is saying it, but what does it mean exactly?
Definition of cloud computing
The expression “cloud computing” can be explained by a virtual space that enables you to stock, share, and refer to training data (working documents, learning material in different formats, meeting minutes, etc.) from a user’s computer on a secure remote server.
Advantages of the cloud
What are the significant advantages for a company who signs up to use clouding computing services?
- Security: training resources are no longer locally saved on a user’s computer, but on a highly secured externalized server. This prevents many risks: loss of data, computer hacking, etc.
- Availability: training contents saved on a remote server can be accessed, changed, and recovered anywhere using any type of device with an internet browser. This is very practical when telecommuting and collaborating internationally.
- Collaboration: thanks to the cloud, all resources available to training teams are saved in real-time and benefit from versioning (management of multiple releases). Therefore, players handling the same project can work together and help enrich the latest version of working documents.
- Upgradability: cloud updates are guaranteed by the provider. The user does not have to handle anything on his or her computer.
Cloud computing is increasingly being used by businesses of all different sizes for the reasons mentioned above: So when are you going to get the cloud?
April 26, 2013 | Leave a comment
Training one’s employees represents a cost. It also requires time and workforce mobilisation. Distance training, classroom-based training, or both? This implies making strategic choices according to available logistic and financial means. But what results can be expected? Are the benefits genuinely tangible?
Training, a patent springboard to success
Vocational training is a fantastic asset for the future of companies, even if they are not necessarily aware of it. Indeed, there is a relationship between increasing employee skills and company productivity.
As early as in 2009, it was estimated that “moderate training effort made within a company is associated with a productivity gain of circa 1% relative to a company that does not implement training. This moderate effort corresponds to 11 hours’ training per company employee. “*
Just a few hours of training for a 1% productivity gain! Even though the number of training hours dispensed is not proportional to the productivity gain, there is no need to be a keen economist to grasp the benefits of training.
Companies must back their employees, this precious value-creating force.
ROI measurement facilitated through digital learning
When a company makes an investment, for internal training in the present case, it is only legitimate for it to wish to measure the impact of this action. But how can it do so?
In digital learning (i.e. training using the computer as a performance vector), the LCMS and LMS platforms can provide precious indicators, facilitating the measurement of return on investment for training courses.
These must fit into a global context that includes other estimation factors.
Based on the principle that a company’s human resources are a key source of value creation and that there are ways of assessing training efficiency, the answer to the question “What is the point of training one’s employees?” becomes obvious: to support and ensure the company’s growth!
March 1, 2013 | Leave a comment
The arrival of digital technology has overturned the codes of corporate training. Indeed, computers have take up their place in learning techniques, both in distance and classroom-based training, also contributing to the emergence of original education methods. How can we defined digital learning? What has been its impact on training techniques? Will digital learning take over from blended learning?
Digital learning, what is it?
Simply put, digital learning is THE fundamental trend currently shaking up the training world. What does it consist of? Over the past few years, the integration of computers into training trades has become common knowledge, leading to the democratisation of e-learning. Digital learning takes this integration further, now encompassing educational content for classroom-based training. This presence of digital technologies, both in e-learning and in classroom-based courses, is the essence of digital leaning: media digitisation and interactivity throughout all educational materials.
Visible progress conferred by digital learning
Digital learning, democratised in training, is not limited simply to e-learning. It is becoming established throughout the value chain focused on educational efficiency (creation, management and distribution of educational material). Some examples of the benefits of digital learning:
- Greater training interactivity;
- Use of digital media in classroom-based training;
- Implementation of remote collaboration within work teams;
- Training industrialisation;
- Enhanced computer security;
- Data backup to cloud computing solutions;
- Emergence of fast learning (very short duration training using online content), etc.
So what about blended learning in all that?
To head off any rumours: NO, digital learning is not a substitute for blended learning. Blended learning (combining e-learning and classroom-based learning) is a learning method, a “way of training” learners. Digital learning, on the other hand, is a technological upgrade that impact learning.
Care must be taken not to confuse the learning method, which is an educational use, and digitisation, corresponding to optimised technological processing.
Current training courses (e-learning, blended learning and classroom-based learning) are undergoing a digitisation phase, offering benefits for both training departments and companies.
January 7, 2013 | Leave a comment
Tracking is a crucial aspect of any trainer’s work. In distance learning, tracking is an integral part of the teaching approach, because it allows for online mentoring. Let’s review the concept of tracking and the educational role it plays in distance learning.
Tracking: what is it, and what purpose does it serve?
As described in our e-learning glossary,”Tracking is done via the LMS platform, to gather teaching information about learners’ progress through their e-learning course: time spent on distance training, number of log-ins, scores earned on online assessments, etc.”. This valuable intelligence, which is directly tied to a learner’s advancement through an e-learning module (or SCO, “Sharable Content Object”), will enable trainers to respond with rigorous, personalised online mentoring (following up with each learner, studying the recorded results, sending reminders, offering support, etc.).
So tracking is crucial - but not using just any distance learning tool!
Indeed, it is impossible to begin tracking with a simply average e-learning tool. In order to track a SCO on an LMS platform, the two must be compatible: this is called interoperability. Standards within the distance learning market, particularly the widely-used SCORM standard, guarantee interoperability between a SCO and an LMS. Following the SCORM standard ensures that the advanced feature of learner tracking will be available for distance learning content and LMS platforms. In short, where tracking is concerned, it’s best to use SCORM-compliant tools! The AICC standard also makes tracking possible, but it is less commonly used: a good e-learning solution will be compatible with both standards.
Tracking applied to the case of mobile learning
Although mobile learning is a developing trend in distance training, driven by growing demand from companies, few publishers of e-learning solutions offer suitable authoring tools compatible with the SCORM standard that can be used to produce m-learning modules. As such, you must carefully research the software solutions you intend to use. The inevitable distance between learner and trainer in m-learning, for example, absolutely must be compensated for with conscientious online follow-up. Failing this, distance learning will become less productive.
December 14, 2012 | Leave a comment
These days, teaching materials represent a considerable competitive asset, although companies are often unaware of their existence and value, making them slow to take advantage of this asset.
What is teaching material?
Together, the teaching resources (either temporary or permanent) generated by human resources departments for blended learning courses are referred to as “teaching materials.” These formally and informally generated teaching materials accumulate over time into teaching assets. Ultimately, teaching materials represent the company’s formalised expertise.
4 types of teaching material
We can distinguish between formal or “traditional” materials, and informal materials, which are innovative content often created virally. What are the 4 components of teaching material, who do they target, and what role do they play?
–>Components: formal materials intended for learners
These materials allow learners to keep a record of the course they have taken.
Examples: slide shows (PPT), duplicated notes, e-learning modules, video and audio files, etc.
–>Components: formal materials intended for trainers
This type of material is significant, because it can be used to reproduce an identical training session, with the same teaching quality.
Example: the teacher’s guide, a complete road map for the trainer, specifically defines the process to follow and steps to be taken when teaching a course.
–>Components: informal materials intended for learners
This type of content results from work by a community and is spread through social learning tools (blogs, wikis, forums, etc.).
Examples: notes, feedback, etc.
–>Components: informal intangibles intended for learners
This refers to the mentoring provided by teachers to those learning from them. “Informal intangible components, such as mentoring, represent an extremely volatile form of teaching expertise since they are generally not structured and remain ‘invisible’ ” (excerpted from the white paper “Optimising teaching assets: the new challenge for HR”).
Examples: mentoring, coaching.
Once an entity’s teaching materials are recognized, the next step is to put them to use and optimise them as much as possible in order to convert them into a true strategic advantage… but the question is, how?
October 24, 2012 | Leave a comment
What do the latest e-learning figures show? In France, companies with more than 5,000 employees appear to be major users of e-learning, representing 60% of market share. E-learning is becoming as widespread in companies as in training centres, driven by the availability of IT tools that are accessible to all. The rapid learning feature called “TvLearn”, is one of these tools which is promoting the inclusion of e-learning into training departments.
TvLearn: your trainers on the Internet
TvLearn is a technology developed by the e-learning software publisher e-doceo for quickly producing training content. This learning methodology is part of the trend described as “rapid learning”, which simplifies e-learning design through the production of short transmissive content (see our article “Rapid learning: advantages and drawbacks”).
The TvLearn feature, available in the rapid learning software elearning animgallery, enables trainers or teachers to simultaneously record their webcam and their microphone, capture their PowerPoint or make screen films. In just a few clicks, the e-learning module is in the box and ready to be broadcast to learners.
Rapid learning and vocational training, the winning combination
For companies, the use of rapid learning presents significant advantages, first of all for trainers:
- The internalised production and broadcast of content rendered in a condensed way within a rapid learning module of a few minutes only. The impact of e-learning is thus maximised
- No waste of time for them because a rapid learning module using TvLearn technology takes only a few minutes to shoot
But also for learners:
- A round-up of important information that needs to be remembered
-Viewing at will, in any place and at any time
-A standardisation of the skills acquired by all learners
Companies which choose to combine e-learning with their so-called conventional face-to-face training, significantly optimise the strength of their training. The case of the Moser School shown in the documentary shot by Radio Télévision Suisse is a good example of the successful inclusion of e-learning, in this case in a training centre. The increasing number of organisations that are engaging in the production and broadcast of rapid learning classes proves the strength and relevance of blended learning (the kind of learning that combines face-to-face training and e-learning, also called mixed training).
September 13, 2012 | Leave a comment
LCMS and LMS, the two terms sound alike, are sometimes associated and frequently confused. And yet… The time has come to shed some light on these two technical appellations from the continuous training world.
LCMS : definition and principle of use
Acronym of Learning Content Management System
An LCMS is a system designed to create and manage teaching materials for blended learning (distance or classroom-based). It is first and foremost a space used to centralise learning content, rendering it easy to search, identify and reuse at any time, whatever the training needs.
The LCMS provides tools for creating training content, that is then manipulated by the teaching design teams, not by the learners.
The LCMS platform is thus intended for training production experts and is used upstream of content dissemination (this 2nd step is performed via an LMS platform).
LCMS : definition and principle of use
Acronym of Learning Management System
The LMS platform is a training dissemination tool, with particular emphasis on distance training. As an online platform, the LMS serves learning content to learners, records training monitoring data (score, time spent, etc.) and facilitates course tutoring.
The LMS platform enables trainers to upload distance training content, but also to precisely monitor and organise the learning courses for their learners. These learners’ results are results are recorded and the LMS generates comprehensive results of their progress through the distance learning course. For learners, the LMS platform is seen as a website onto which they log and access their own distance training content.
In summary, the LCMS is not an LMS to which an authoring tool has been added, but rather a distinct software family in its own right.
LCMS vs LMS : overview of differences
Training content creation
Training content dissemination
Content production process management features
Content optimisation and reuse assistance
Data sharing between trainers and learners
Analysis of training results
August 13, 2012 | Leave a comment
HTML5 is considered as the Internet computer language of the future, logically following on from version 4. Though the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium, international Web standardisation body) has not as yet made any decisions concerning the rules that will define this new standard, many companies have already started down the HTML5 road. In distance training, the production of training content is also impacted by this change, to which e-learning software must adapt.
What is HTML5?
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is one of the fundamental data languages used to represent web pages by means of tags. Viewable online, HTML documents are accessed using web browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, etc.).
The HTML language is about to undergo its fifth major upgrade with HTML5, aimed at preserving maximum compatibility of websites over all commercially available computer terminals (personal computers, smartphones and touch tablets). The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is currently preparing its guidelines for this standard, that it only intends to publish in 2014.
HTML5 in a transition phase
Despite the widespread interest in this technology, HTML5 remains in a state of transition, though this does not appear to discourage companies in the least. Many of these companies are progressively adopting HTML5, particularly in the distance training sector, in which this technology is used to produce mobile training content: in this case, we refer to “m-learning”, or “mobile learning”.
Currently, most e-learning software applications use Flash, which is dedicated to PC/Mac terminals, to create and disseminate interactive and animated training content. e-Learning software publishers are progressively adapting their products to the rise in mobile learning. Training content for distance training must now be able to offer optimum compatibility with all web browsers and computer platforms. There is, however, one considerable drawback: HTML5 is a standard whose outlines have not as yet been drawn. This is thus currently causing a major tag homogeneity and interpretation problem, that varies according to the browser used.
HTML5 + Flash : a winning combination!
In distance training, the mobile learning trend is getting stronger by the day, causing an increasing demand in terms of training content production and dissemination over mobile terminals.
The main challenge for users and, consequently, for e-learning software publishers, is to offer tools able to make use both of Flash and HTML5, thus offering dual compatibility and covering the entire distance training market.